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Audio System Upgrading (Help Me Plan)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My 5.1 system and 2 Channel system occupy the same room, both sitting in next to each other, centered around the TV. I am satisfied with my 5.1 system other than the loss of a sub. The 2 Channel system needs some work over the next 4 months.

My current home theater system includes the following:
Sources:
Apple TV (3rd Gen)
Sony Blu-ray player (cheap, not sure on the model)
Media Center PC
AV Reciver:
Yamaha RX-A710 (Recent Upgrade)
Speakers:
Polk Monitor speakers (2x monitor 40, 2x monitor 30, CS1)
Need a new sub
Display:
LG 47LM6200 (Recent Upgrade)

I used inexpensive cabling thoughout (Belkin Pro AV) and 16 AWG speaker cable


My current 2 Channel Audio system includes the following
Sources:
Pro-ject Debut III Turntable
Media Center PC
Audio Receiver:
Yamaha RX-A710 (Recent Upgrade)
Speakers:
Wharfedale Evo2-40 (Recent Upgrade)
Sub from Home Theater

I am looking for the best way to use both systems and switch back and forth, and trying to find my upgrade path.

The only thing I don't have, that I can't be without is a Phono Preamp (or have it built into something else)

Things in question:
2 Channel Dac
Speaker Cabling (and other cables for 2 channel system
Sub to match sound signature of Evo2-40's (that wont sound horrible with my polks)
Stereo Preamp (tube?)
Power Amp(s) (mono blocks/ dual stereo amps for bi-amping/ wiring for bi-wiring?)
Acrylic Platter for turntable
Upgraded Turntable Cartridge

My question is what order should a purchase, yielding largest results first. also what should I buy for each product.
post #2 of 8
If your media center PC is running optical out to your receiver, I'd hold off on the DAC since any improvement would be very minor.

Sounds like you know you already need a sub, why not start with that? Without one, you are missing out on the lower frequencies in movie watching right now, and then you would get the benefit of the sub with your 2 channel setup.

If you visit the AVS subwoofer forum, you'll see most people recommend the Internet direct sub manufacturers for best value: HSU, Outlaw Audio, Rythmik, SVS.
post #3 of 8
1) phono preamp
2) sub
3) cartridge

Everything else is far less significant sonically.

Specific recommendations depend on budget.
post #4 of 8
I would recommend the following 3 things for your system:

1) A Music Hall A15.2 integrated amplifier, which will sound much better than your receiver, and has a decent phono preamp built-in. You can get it for only $499 at Music Direct. IMO it is the best amplifier you can get for under $1000.

2) A Klipsch RW12D subwoofer, which I have seen for as low as $300 recently. Wharfedale rates your speakers down to 30 Hz, but that is a joke; they don't have any usable response below 40 Hz.

3) An Ortophon 2M Blue phono cartridge ($225 at Needle Doctor).

A separate preamp and amplifier that will sound better than the Music Hall A15.2 will cost you over $2000, so there is no point in going that route unless you have some big bucks to spend. Most preamps that cost less than $1000 are not very good at all.
Edited by commsysman - 8/3/12 at 8:42am
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by defianttek View Post

Things in question:
2 Channel DAC
AVR is just fine.
Quote:
Speaker Cabling (and other cables for 2 channel system

Unless your present speaker cables are 18 gauge or higher, don't bother. When in doubt get commodity 12 gauge.
Quote:
Sub to match sound signature of Evo2-40's (that wont sound horrible with my polks)

The matching of sound signatures between the mains and the sub is up to you. If you want the best probability of good results, look at something with lots of matching facilities such as the DSP-assisted offerings from Paradigm and Velodyne.
Quote:
Stereo Preamp (tube?)

AVR is fine.
Quote:
Power Amp(s) (mono blocks/ dual stereo amps for bi-amping/ wiring for bi-wiring?)


Biwiring is a scam, biamping is great for budding EE's who want to learn speaker design by self-experimentation. Unless you have a dynamic range (loudness) problem that you can point your finger at, your new really nice subwoofer is your strongest move in this area.
Quote:
Acrylic Platter for turntable

May look nice. I'm of the opinion that turntable platter coverings are supposed to be soft and absorbant.
Quote:
Upgraded Turntable Cartridge

Shure M97

Quote:
My question is what order should a purchase, yielding largest results first. also what should I buy for each product.

In terms of sound quality the sub will probably give you the best bang for the buck, providing you avoid small cheap garbage and get something with a 12 inch driver or larger and a good flexible electronics package such as the recommendations I already made.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ended up buying a klipsch rw12d for 300... Now stuck on a phono preamp
post #7 of 8
I think you made a very good choice on the sub.

The Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp is an excellent one, and runs about $150 now I think.

For $13, you can buy Monoprice #2748 14-gauge speaker cable (50 feet). I suggest that you use that for any distance over 4 feet.

The Ortophon Blue is an excellent cartridge; the Red is also pretty good.
Edited by commsysman - 8/9/12 at 11:05am
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I also just picked up a regs fono new for 250
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